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GOLDSEA | IDENTITY

THE CHAMBER
PAGE 3 OF 8

The land surrounding the house was a garden planted with mutilated and partially burned corpses, as well as plastic containers filled with weapons, blood-stained cutting tools, personal belongings of the victims and a pair of videotapes.
     When Lake was confronted with the contradicting details, he told police officers that he was thirsty, and asked for a glass of water, a pen and a piece of paper. He scribbled something on the page and put it in his shirt pocket. Then he told his interrogators that his name was Leonard Lake, gave them his birth date, and said he was wanted in Mendocino County on weapons charges. He also told them that the name of the man they were looking for was Charles Chitat Ng. Suddenly he bit something off his shirt and swallowed it down with the water he had been given. Police later discovered he had glued two cyanide capsules to the underside of his lapel.
     The note in Lake's pocket, addressed to his ex-wife, read, "Dear Lyn: I love you. Please forgive me. I forgive you. Please tell Mama, Fern and Patty I'm sorry." Fern and Patty are Lake's sisters.
     South San Francisco police knew they had something a lot bigger than a shoplifting case. Things grew even more ominous when they discovered blood stains on the front seat of the Honda, and bullet holes in the door panel and sunscreen. Cosner, a car broker, had disappeared on Nov. 2, 1984 after telling his girlfriend that he was showing a car that day to "a weird guy." He was never seen again.
     Inside the Honda, police found an electric bill made out to a Claralyn Balasz and addressed to a cabin in Wilseyville. Balasz, known as "Cricket" to her friends, was Lake's ex-wife. Thus began the investigation of Lake and Ng, which would result in an international manhunt and the disinterrment of evidence so ghastly it left even veteran police detectives shuddering with disgust. The cabin in Wilseyville, purchased by Balasz's parents as a future retirement home, had been transformed into the embodiment of a madman's twisted fantasies.
     Beside the house, Lake had constructed a cinderblock bunker equipped with a hidden chamber and eye bolts on the bedroom floor for securing restraint devices. The land surrounding the house was a garden planted with mutilated and partially burned corpses, as well as plastic containers filled with weapons, blood-stained cutting tools, personal belongings of the victims and a pair of videotapes. These tapes, along with Lake's diary found inside the cabin, provide the most revealing picture of the events that transpired there.




     It is impossible to say how many people died at the hands of Leonard Lake and his alleged accomplice, Charles Ng. Police dug up 45 pounds of human bone fragments from the land surrounding the Wilseyville cabin, but the killer or killers were extremely thorough; the bodies were sliced into pieces and strewn around the property, and many were apparently burned in an incinerator beside the house. Only a few bodies were ever identified. But between 19 and 25 missing people have been connected to either Lake or Ng, and Ng has been charged with a dozen murders.
     So what went on in that cabin in Wilseyville? Ng is probably the only living person who knows, but the killers left plenty of evidence behind. They were even careless enough to record some of their cruel sexual escapades on videotape. PAGE 4

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